It was a popular analysis in the 1980s and 1990s: "LSU is a sleeping giant." Well, the giant is awake now. In the past 10 years, LSU has won four SEC titles and has a shot at its third national title. That's one big giant. How big?
Since 1950, seven schools have won three national titles in the span of a decade: Alabama, Miami, Nebraska, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Texas, and USC. That's pretty much a list of the greatest programs of all-time (except Miami, who are a special case of a brief yet dominant dynasty).
LSU now has a chance to join this incredibly elite group. We're not talking about the program being really good and competing for titles, we're talking about stepping up to become one of the elite programs of all time.
A win here would be LSU's fifth recognized national title*, which would rank LSU ninth all-time among programs still in the FBS Subdivision. A national title and suddenly LSU is rubbing shoulders with the elite of college football, not just right now, but all-time.
*Ed Note - I'm using CFB Data Warehouse as my source. They recognize the 1908 title even if LSU doesn't. I have no idea why we do not recognize a title of a team that went 10-0 and outscored opponents 442-11. Not a misprint: 442 to 11.
On top of its historic place as a program, this LSU team has a chance to establish itself as one of the greatest single year teams of all time. LSU has played a brutal schedule, though Alabama's media campaign has robbed LSU of the unique opportunity to win one conference and beat the conference champion of three other BCS conferences. That's never happened in the BCS era, and sadly, we will not have the opportunity to make that bit of history.
Still, this has been an impressive run. If LSU wins, LSU will have won four games against teams ranked in the top five, has beaten two BCS conference champions, won the toughest country in the nation, and won ten games against teams that were ranked at the time of kickoff. All this, and no team save Alabama will have played LSU within 13 points.
That's what is behind Door #1. A win in the title game, and LSU will be able to claim one of the greatest single seasons of all time. A win will further place LSU as one of the greatest programs in college football history. This program is knocking on the door to the most elite club in college football history.
Behind Door #2?
If LSU loses this game, this season is for naught. The greatest season in LSU history will end as the greatest disappointment in LSU history. It's either greatness or bust. And when I say bust, I mean bust.
This is the single biggest game in LSU's entire football history. Best yet, we get to play it against the Evil Empire themselves, Alabama. And while Alabama backdoored their way into the title game, getting rewarded for losing and ducking tough games, LSU had to come in the hard way. LSU had to beat Alabama on the road, then win the SEC title game.
That's just the way things go. LSU is trying to do something historic, and that means taking the hardest path possible. No backing in, no excuses. Everything LSU will get, LSU will have earned. If LSU fails to win, then we don't go home with some lovely parting gifts. But there will be no excuses either.
I know it. You know it. This team knows it. This team will play with the weight of history before them. They will step up and meet the challenge, because that is what they have done every step of the road so far.
LSU has to win on January 9th.The pressure is immense but this team thrives on pressure. Pressure is how you make diamonds. And that's what this season is.